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Declicking The Clicks!


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I could title this declicking page: Snap, Crackle and Pop!

But I won’t...

Because any audio restoration is a serious process.

I find it can be a very time consuming process. It can sometimes be very frustrating. But ultimately, it's a very rewarding process.

DeClicking the Grammophone

First, let's get our definitions straight

Just so we're clear about everything.

Clicks are extremely brief, random, sometimes loud spikes, in various ranges of frequencies that produce a ticking or popping sound.

MistersMasters.com DeClicking Example 1


For vinyl and 78's, they're caused by things like specks of dust lodged in a record groove, or even just tiny microscopic craters within the groove itself.

Other sources involve transient interferences like accidentally hitting a microphone; or activating an electrical switch while recording, for example.

The close cousin of clicks is: Crackles.

Crackles are 'quieter' clicks happening more predictably and steadily. They're the 'frying-bacon' type sound often heard on old 78's or other badly worn vinyl.

So: What approach do I find best for click removal...

Manual or Automated?

That will depend on the number of clicks in the file.

I prefer the manual approach If there are about less than 10 clicks. Beyond that I find the Sonnox DeClicker software in WaveLab to be quite superb at automatically removing clicks.

MistersMasters.com Sonnox DeClicker

Most of the time I’ll use a combination. Automated software, even as good as the Sonnox won’t always catch everything. So I manually remove whatever's leftover.

This two step process I use simply cuts down on the time that would be required if click removal was done manually.

Manual removal in WaveLab involves selecting the region where the click happens, as you can see in the image below.

MistersMasters.com DeClicking Example 2

Then I can select restore options from the panel shown below.

MistersMasters.com: WaveLab's Error Correction Tool

Whatever method I use, a new waveform is redrawn and generated for just the region where the click occurs.

MistersMasters.com: DeClicking Example 3

Areas with longer damage will often involve re-generating surrounding regions to remove the click disturbance. Things like “Spectral Restore” are helpful for this. But it can be a hit-or-miss solution!

Pops!

No I ain’t talking about your dad!

I mentioned frequency ranges when discussing clicks. Low frequency clicks are referred to as pops. I also mentioned spectral restore. The image below shows what a pop looks like in a zoomed-in version of its spectral image.

MistersMasters.com: Spectral Restoration Example 1

The process I use is almost entirely manual. I find it’s simply the best way. For this example, I would select the region - one at a time - shown in the image by the arrows...

MistersMasters.com: Spectral Restoration Example 2

...and use the level reduction algorithm in the options panel.

MistersMasters.com: WaveLab's Spectral Restoration Tool

The result is shown below.

MistersMasters.com: Spectral Restoration Example 3

Crackles!

Decrackling needs to be done with software. And in addition to the Sonnox DeClicker, I use Waves X-Crackle.

MistersMasters.com: Waves X-Crackle

The challenge is to remove as much of the crackles as possible without removing the wanted high frequencies. It is a judgement call.

Because, like hum....

Perception plays quite a role in DeClicking

The phenomenon is similar to the experiment of adding white noise to a bandwidth limited file. The mere presence of noise gives the impression there is more going on frequency wise than there really is. So it is with click, crackles and pops.

I have my carefully tuned ears and some handy equalization templates - NOT presets - I’ve developed over the years to very effectively deal with these issues.

Serious restoration is more than slapping on some reduction software. It takes time. It takes trial and error. But it gives great rewards!

Find out those rewards by de - clicking here!


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